Fossil fuels are of immense importance for our day-to-day lives. All the three major forms of fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and coal meet the most of our household and industrial energy requirement. Oil provides mobility to the humanities. Oil is used as fuel in almost all means of transportation like trains, buses, cars, trucks, aircrafts, boats and the like.
Coal in extensively used in power generation (electrical power). The power generated from coal is used to operate different devices. However, the most important use of this power is that it provides light. Natural gas is commonly used for household purposes like heating water, cooking and so on. Sometimes, natural gas is also used to meet the energy requirements of industries.
Compositions of Fossil Fuels
Crude oil is made up of different forms of hydrocarbons with dissimilar molecular weights, chemical properties, and organic structures. Oil collected from natural deposits can be of diverse forms. It may by too viscous or easy-flowing. The different forms of oil are separated and collected from the oil deposits by the procedure of refining. However, crude oil unlike other two forms of fossil fuels can be used only after refining.
Natural gas contains hydrocarbons in gaseous forms. Methane is the major component of natural gas. It also contains small amounts of nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, propane, ethylene, ethane, and helium. Natural gas is commonly found over oil deposits. It is also found separately within different layers under the earth's surface. Natural gas is drawn by pipes from the deposits and then transported to distant places through a network of pipelines.
Coal is made up of a combination of different chemical compounds like oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, sulfur, nitrogen and some more. Coal is found in a wide variety of forms like bituminous coal, sub-bituminous coal, peat, anthracite, brown coal and so on. Coalification is the process that results in the formation of different varieties of coal. Quality of coal increases as the percentage of carbon rises. The rank of coal improves starting from lignite to low rank coal, high rank coal, and finally to anthracite. Among the different forms of coal, graphite contains the highest percentage of carbon.
There is no denying that fossil fuels constitute the chief source of energy in today's world. However, it produces greenhouse gas, which is harmful for the atmosphere. The sources of fossil fuels are also limited. All these are increasing the demand of alternative renewable sources of energy across the world.